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Chances are, you’ve received a call from a broker or noticed their website outranks yours on Google. Third-party rental firms exist as one-stop shops for consumers. Clients can secure various services through one vendor, eliminating the back-and-forth required when juggling multiple providers.
But for the portable restroom operator, brokers can pose a threat. They seem to have limitless marketing resources and can drain your market share. Learn how broker relationships impact your business and get tips for handling them.
Brokers as Competitors
When brokers enter your market, retaining your share is challenging. Many third-party vendors can outspend smaller companies, giving them the edge in marketing and customer service. Aside from funding robust SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, the fully-staffed firms have multiple sales and support agents.
All a broker needs to do is find a local professional service provider, and they turn into your direct competition. While working with brokers has pros and cons, treating them as partners or customers may be necessary.
Brokers as Partners
Becoming a broker’s preferred vendor has advantages; specifically, your portable restroom business benefits from the broker’s non-equity investment. Speaking on general terms, brokers spend approximately $12,000 to $24,000 monthly on sales, service, and marketing.
This figure breaks down into:
- Marketing: Roughly $5,000 to $10,000 for SEO and $1,000 to $5,000 for PPC
- Sales: Around $4,000 to $6,000 (or more) for each sales agent
- Service: About $2,600 to $3,500 per customer support representative
By partnering with brokers, your portable restroom company can gain work without a significant capital investment. In most cases, PROs only pay brokers once they sell a job. However, you may need to mark down your price by 30- 40% to become a preferred vendor.
Brokers as Customers
In some areas, several brokers go after the same customers. If potential clients receive three or four quotes, one or more may be from third-party providers. You’re out of the picture once brokers award their preferred vendors the agreements.
Suppose you look at brokers as your customers. Being the preferred vendor for multiple providers can give you a larger market share. Consider the cases of multi-unit and government jobs. Some PROs bid contracts lower than their standard pricing to improve route density. Taking a similar strategy with brokers can provide comparable benefits.
Tips for Working with Brokers
Being a preferred vendor isn’t without risks. You lose some control over the customer experience, which can threaten your online reputation if interactions go poorly. For this reason and others, PROs should evaluate firms carefully.
Follow these steps to find and vet regional brokers for possible partnerships:
- Assess the market by searching Google for local portable toilet providers
- Identify potential brokers listed on the search engine results page
- Research each company’s history and reputation
- Contact ones that make the cut and ask about becoming a preferred vendor
- Create a product and service price sheet
- Email price sheets to each broker
As a preferred vendor, you can reduce the chances of problems by always getting credit card information when accepting an order from the broker. Remember to put the broker’s purchase order (PO) number on all internal and external documents. Doing so will simplify payments and accounting.
Stay Competitive by Managing Broker Relationships
The right partners can help your business improve cash flow and decrease staffing costs. Maintain long-term relationships by showing brokers that you’re a quality service provider and not trying to take clients from under them. A special thank you to second-generation PRO and owner of Patriot Portable Restrooms, Joe Shelton, for providing insights and tips.
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